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Use It or Lose It

"The LORD said to him [Moses], 'What is that in your hand?' And he said, 'A staff.'"1

I have read how in 1872, at the age of 16, Booker T. Washington (born a slave and then became the foremost black educator of the late 19th and early 20th centuries) decided he wanted to go to school. He walked 500 miles to Hampton Institute in Virginia, and presented himself to the head teacher. Washington later recalled, "Having been so long without proper food, a bath, and change of clothing, I did not make a very favorable impression upon her, and I could see at once that there were doubts in her mind about me."

Finally she said to him, "The adjoining recitation room needs cleaning. Take the broom and do it." A lesser person might have been insulted by being assigned menial work. But Washington recognized immediately that this was his big chance. He swept that room three times and dusted it four times. He even cleaned the walls and the closets. Then he reported to the head teacher that the job was finished. She examined that room like a drill sergeant. She even took a handkerchief and rubbed it across the top of a door. When she could not find a particle of dirt, she said, "I guess you will do to enter this institution."

As a 16-year-old, Washington could not do many things. But he could clean a room. And he did it gloriously. Extraordinary living begins with using what we have. What gifts and graces do you have that you have not fully activated?2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that You use ordinary people to do ordinary things in extraordinary ways, as well as using ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Please use me for whatever it is You have gifted me to do and want me to do
be it large or small—and thereby help make my world a better place in which to live. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Exodus 4:2 (NASB).
2. Bill Bouknight,, July 2002


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.